1100 Bel Air Place

Julio Iglesias

Columbia, 1984


REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


Spanish-born Julio Iglesias is one of the world’s most loved and successful recording artists. Up until the release of this album, he had enjoyed a stellar career throughout Europe and South America, but had largely gone unnoticed throughout the English-speaking world. In late 1983, Iglesias and producer Richard Perry, the man behind The Pointer Sisters success and owner of the Planet label, got together and discussed plans for a proper crossover recording that would see Iglesias record some English-language songs as well as a few Spanish numbers. 

This was a challenge in itself because Julio’s English was not what one would call fluent at that point. He honed most of his phrasing by learning words phonetically and paying less attention to the meaning of specific words he wasn’t familiar with. Iglesias is the owner of one of the most beautiful voices in the world of music – and it’s fair to say the ladies love him. But it was a very famous lady that he would romantically pursue (and suffer a rare rejection for his troubles) whose voice is the first one heard on the record. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Diana Ross was not an easy catch, though, as the diva stipulated that she would only agree to the duet if she was to be the ONLY guest star on the entire album. Eager to win her over in one way or another, Iglesias and Perry agreed to Miss Ross’ condition and then were careful not to talk too much about the project other than her song for fear of leaking the truth, which was that there were to be other guest stars appearing on the record. Upon receiving her copy of the finished album, Ross was thoroughly pissed at being misled, however, and it seems the ill-fated romantic pursuit was nixed soon after.

The song itself, simply called “All Of You,” was a big hit at the time but hasn’t aged well as it is way too cheesy and the sappy production does it no favors either – although Ross did look ravishing on the cover of the single, which no doubt helped shift a good number of copies. The Beach Boys fared slightly better during their guest spot, which was providing harmony vocals for a faithful take on the classic pop song “The Air That I Breathe,” which was a good fit for Julio’s voice as well. 

Another big hit from the record was the duet that Julio recorded with Willie Nelson, “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,” which, along with the ballad “Two Lovers” and Latin-tinged popper “Moonlight Lady,” represents the record’s finest moments in English. My favorite songs on the album, though, are the Spanish danceable pop of “Me Va, Me Va” and the absolutely beautiful atmosphere created by the sublime “Bambou Medley:  Il Tape sur des Bambous / Jamaica.” It’s during these two songs that the full charm and skill of Iglesias’ singing is most powerfully noticed. 

1100 Bel Air Place was Iglesias’ home address at the time and I can’t help thinking that the devoted ladies-man used it for the album’s title as another tool of seduction – why not have them come directly to your door?  Stupid title aside and despite the overly lush ‘80s production, 1100 Bel Air Place is still a rather enjoyable listen due to the sheer quality of Julio Iglesias’ magnificent voice and some fine song selection that seemed to make him comfortable enough to put down some very good vocal performances in a language that was still quite foreign to him.

Rating: B

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